Soldiers are seen at the site of one of two explosions that hit Jolo, Sulu on Monday, August 24, 2020. At least 14 people were killed in the twin blasts, while dozens were injured. Photo provided to GMA News stringer Peewee Bacuño

Implementing martial law in Sulu should not be at the expense of human rights, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said Wednesday.

Malacañang earlier said that President Rodrigo Duterte will look into the recommendation of the Philippine Army to impose martial law in the province in the aftermath of the twin bombings in Jolo which killed at least 15 people and injured  dozens.

“Should the government decide to proceed with such proposal, we hope that declaration of martial law will be guided with the principles necessity and proportionality of the threat identified; limited to an area where it is needed, such as Sulu; and with full respect for human rights as the basis for protecting the people against the harms of armed conflicts,” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline De Guia said in a statement.

Martial law suspends the writ of habeas corpus, thus allowing authorities to arrest suspects without a warrant and charge them within three days.

De Guia noted that martial law remains an extraordinary measure reserved for extraordinary circumstances, and that the government should not normalize the imposition of martial law as a default response to threats to national safety. 

“We continue to condemn terroristic acts and its horrors, especially to innocent, unsuspecting victims. At the same time, we have also repeatedly expressed confidence in our security forces in addressing terrorism within the ambit of their regular powers and those granted upon them by current laws,” De Guia said.

“In this case, greater collaboration between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police might be the key in preventing future attacks, as well as in making perpetrators accountable for their crimes,” she added.

Earlier, Dr. Rommel Banlaoi, chairman of the think tank Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research, said that the twin bombings in Jolo could be a retaliatory attack for the arrest of Abu Sayyaf leader Anduljihad “Edang” Susukan last week.

Susukan was arrested from the residence of fugitive Nur Misuari in Davao City—hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte—after having prosthetics done on his hand.

“Based on the documents I have, magkakaugnay ‘yan kasi iyang si Susukan ay main operative ng Abu Sayyaf sa mga kidnap for ransom, bombing operations nila,” Banlaoi said in a Dobol B sa News TV interview.

“Malaki ang mensahe nito sa law enforcement authorities: that despite the increased law enforcement activities nila roon even amid the pandemic, na-outsmart sila. Dalawang pandemic po ang hinaharap natin, COVID-19 at terrorism. Parehong lethal at virulent,” Banlaoi added. — BM, GMA News